A rant I agree with

I couldn’t have written this better myself. A h/t goes to DetroitPatriotette for turning me on to the post.

I’ve always wondered what happened to the Humphrey wing of the Democrat party. Look at FDR – he came up with much of what’s considered “big government” today, but he wasn’t afraid to prosecute a war to protect our shores when we were attacked. Many of today’s leftist Democrats make Pat Buchanan look like a member of the Council of Foreign Relations.

Reagan Democrats split away when the Humphrey wing of the party was frozen out of the power structure, and the prevailing mood of the Democrat apparatchik became that of being pro-abortion, anti-gun, anti-military, and anti-God. The Democrats have continued on that course for the last quarter of a century, and it seems to me that the alternative they present is solely to have the federal government do whatever President Bush and the GOP doesn’t want done.

To me, the country really hasn’t moved rightward – the political parties have simply moved leftward and out of touch with the will of the people. Americans still want what they’ve wanted for 200+ years, but few in either party seem to be willing to sacrifice their political power and cede it the the people to allow these things to happen.

Just slightly ahead of my time

On Michelle Malkin’s site I ran across a post regarding suicide bomber threats at NCAA regional basketball or conference tournament sites. Where have I seen that theory before?

It’s a crime!

Thanks to Delmarva Dealings for pointing out the Daily Times printed my letter to the editor yesterday. Now, normally they call me to verify but I guess they must read the blogs and found I “crossposted” it anyway. Thus, I never heard a thing, and I don’t get the print edition here (we do get it where I work.)

What I’d love to know is why the DT editor chopped it up so bad?!? I write a certain way on purpose. Sure it may be wordy, but as Rush Limbaugh would say, “words mean things.” I take plenty of time to write, because I want to type out my thoughts and opinions in a manner that expresses them completely.

However, if you followed the link and you’re discovering monoblogue for the first time, welcome! Glad you’re here. But I’m betting that if you saw that online link to my site on the DT website, you’ve likely already read my blog from being linked in other places. Of course, the more readers I get, the more likely I can get actual paying advertisers to come to my site…that would be cool. At least then I could make my server fee back.

Actually, the real reason I was getting ready to write a post was something I saw on Justice For All? almost a month ago, but it was almost immediately buried in the avalanche of MDE/zoo/Salisbury Water Treatment plant news. It was a 5 part pictorial called “No Gangs in Salisbury.” To refresh your memory:

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

Despite the fact that the news is old blogwise, it doesn’t mean we are any less likely to see gang trouble this year. No one wants a repeat of last year’s random homicide incident, only this time involving, say, MS-13 or ABM.

As I see it, the main cause of gang problems in Salisbury is not quite what one may think. I recall seeing a news item last year about several incidents where alien workers were robbed but couldn’t or didn’t report these incidents to the police. The reason most theorized is that these workers were here illegally and didn’t want to draw attention to themselves and their crime by reporting a crime perpetrated on them. So they just bore the loss of hundreds of dollars in cash silently.

Many of these laborers speak little or no English, and don’t have bank accounts. Either they are paid in cash or use a secondary vendor to get their checks cashed (Wal-Mart will cash a payroll check for a modest fee.) It’s not been uncommon for me to complete my shopping at Wal-Mart (particularly the one in Fruitland) and find myself behind a group of Mexican laborers who pull out a large wad of cash to pay for their groceries. Obviously this fact isn’t lost on the criminal element, who see these people as an easy target. Knowing that the foreign population generally carries a large amount of cash and is hesitant to report being relieved of it by threat of force, it almost becomes a sport to see who can get the largest amount of ill-gotten gains.

Then the question becomes: what happens to all that loose untraceable cash? A lot of it ends up in the pockets of those who ply the narcotics trade. And where there’s a thriving drug market, there’s generally gang formation. So you begin to see various garages and other buildings “tagged” with gang graffiti marking their turf and sending hidden messages to competing gangs.

One thing I was curious about and I finally looked into tonight was how one can get in touch with the local police and sheriff’s office. In Toledo, there’s an anonymous tip line one can call if they have information on a crime committed (obviously, if one’s in progress, 9-1-1 should be dialed.) But there’s no such thing here. It’s particularly important that one can call in tips anonymously, since dealing with a gang like MS-13 can be dicey.

Now it could be that the criminal investigation sections of the Salisbury PD and Wicomico Sheriff’s Department do handle anonymous tips, but they don’t advertise that kind of service, nor is it known if they’re bilingual. Let’s face it, until some sort of meaningful immigration reform and enforcement is passed on a federal level, Salisbury’s going to be a bilingual city.

The other thing is something that struck me driving along on Saturday. I was driving down Church Street to work and I saw a group of people fixing up a porch. Since they were mostly Caucasian, I didn’t figure they were native to that mostly minority neighborhood. I’m guessing it was a church group who was doing their part to help a less fortunate member of the community.

So why couldn’t a group adopt a block on a Saturday and paint over some of the gang tagging? Have Home Depot or Lowe’s pitch in and donate a few gallons of paint. It could even be the community service element for those who are sentenced to complete community service, still better if they were unruly juveniles who were quite possibly the ones to deface the building in the first place.

It will have to be an ongoing effort, because the gangs will come back a few times. But they eventually lose interest, or more likely, hit another block where their colors will last for a longer time.

I look at it this way. There’s probably as many if not more gang-bangers and wannabes on the streets than there are cops. Generally cops are better armed, but they can’t be everywhere at all times. So the deciding factor in taking care of the gang problem is the citizens. But the citizens generally want to just get along in life and stay out of the way of the gangs – a healthy fear. That creates a condition which perpetuates the problem.

The suggestions I posted here are just a tip of the iceberg. Much needs to be done at all levels of society (notice I didn’t say government) to eradicate the gangs from all sides. The most effective tool to me would be drying up their money supply, but that’s going to take pressure on all levels of the drug trade.

We’re going to have a new sheriff in town come November. First and foremost on his/her agenda is going to be the gang problem, and the remedies prescribed during the campaign will be tested soon after the oath of office is sworn. Let’s hope they work.

Outstanding comment

I just moderated a comment to a previous post that’s likely better than the post itself, so I’ll link back to that post. It was a comment that does a great job of what I like to see comments do: move the conversation forward.

I didn’t want the comment buried in a post that’s several back in the pipeline. That would be a shame because not everyone reads past the first post or two. So here you go.

Reaction to the Daily Times

With the several letters written and published in today’s paper, I decided to add my two cents’ worth. This was mostly because, with the exception of Peter Gerardo who stated he edits a blog, it didn’t appear to me that anyone who wrote actually was a blogger.

So we’ll see if this makes it into print soon. Generally a letter of mine (if published) takes 2-3 days from my computer to their paper, mostly because they call me to verify I wrote it. Look at this as a possible sneak peek of Thursday or Friday’s paper.

To the Editor:

A lot of interesting comments were in the Daily Times recently about the local blogosphere and its effects on the Delmarva political scene. While I’m not one of what I call the “big three” (Delmarva Dealings, Duvafiles, Justice for All?) two of the three are kind enough to link to my site as does The Goldwater’s Oracle. So yes, I am a local blogger.

Blogging is not my “real job.” It’s something I do because I care about my country and my adopted home state and city. I have a number of passionate opinions about political issues and since the paper couldn’t print a daily letter from me, I went out and actually spent the money for server space and a website to call my own. People are free to read it and comment on what they see there, and, except for when they’re not germane to the subject at hand, I’m not afraid to post the comments. My blog also provides me the freedom to write about other subjects near and dear to my heart that aren’t political but I feel strongly about nonetheless.

The other unique thing about blogging is that there’s many different styles. Some have frequent short posts about specific news items, while others are more editorial-style commentary. Mine falls under the latter category. If there’s an item I comment on, I’ll generally link to it so the reader can judge for himself whether my opinion holds water. For example, recently I commented on a pending bill in the General Assembly and linked to the actual text so a reader could get the context.

Recent news items have shown the promise of the blogosphere. There are things that can be improved about our area, and having a source to point them out without going through the established local media or being ignored by an uncaring local government is quite revolutionary. It’s a bit like a Block Watch program, with many eyes keeping a sharp lookout of neighborhood goings-on and reporting to others when things are amiss.

I decided to write this letter because it seemed from those published that, with the exception of Mr. Gerardo who edits a blog, none of the writers had an inside scoop on what goes into one. As there are many styles of blogs, there’s also a vast range of opinions held within them. Yes, my blog features my political viewpoint, but that is stated right on the top. I don’t hide the allegiances I’ve formed or claim to be non-biased.

So, because I’m signing my name at the bottom of this letter, and it’s easy enough to follow a link to reach my site from the aforementioned blogs, it’s apparent that I’m not anonymous, either. My goal is to have a well-written, persuasive blog with both news and views. Follow the links and tell me if I’m succeeding – I welcome the feedback.

Michael Swartz
Salisbury

Speaking of feedback, I had some not-so-nice things said about me regarding my last post. The funny thing is, I still link to his website. Go ahead and take a gander at what he says on his site, then tell me I don’t get a variety of viewpoints.

Another one to stop

I was doing research for a comment I was going to submit to another website and ran across an interview Senate candidate (and Congressman) Ben Cardin did with a “friendly” site (MyDD.com) and interviewer Jonathan Singer. What leaped off the page at me was this quote:

Singer: Now let’s look at something specific to your state of Maryland. Your state legislature enacted a plan that would mandate that large companies, like Wall Mart (sic), provide at least some healthcare benefits, either directly to workers or through contributions to the state program. Should Congress look at a similar plan?

Cardin: Congress should pass a program that provides for universal health insurance coverage.

It is not acceptable for us to have 45 to 47 million Americans without health insurance. It’s not fair for those who have health insurance to pay for those who do not have health insurance. That was the frustration in Maryland, where you had companies that were not only paying for their own employees but literally paying for their competitors’ employees because of the extra cost for the uninsured.

So the Congress should pass legislation that guarantees that every person in this country has health insurance, and it’s in every one of our interests that that be done.

I wonder if he knows James Hubbard? So, not only would we get tagged with higher taxes and a health insurance mandate here in Maryland if HB1510 passes, but if Cardin wins (and remember, his term would extend beyond the 2008 presidential election and could be the same time as Hillary’s re-election) we might have the same thing nationwide.

Spread the misery around: the unofficial credo of the Democrats.

More on Hubbard

Last night, I wrote about Delegate James Hubbard, who is attempting to expand the Wal-Mart bill to be more fair, if you define fairness as spreading red tape over more entities. Actually, it’s reported as companies with more than 1,000 employees but in reading the actual text of the bill the number 10,000 is changed to one. So I’m led to assume that EVERY company in Maryland is involved.

And that’s not all that’s in this bill. Basically by fiscal year 2010 we’ll have universal health coverage or additional taxes under it. I really love this power grab:

IN THIS SECTION, “APPLICABLE POVERTY INCOME LEVEL” HAS THE
13 MEANING STATED IN § 10-709 OF THE TAX – GENERAL ARTICLE.
14 (B) IN ADDITION TO THE TAX IMPOSED UNDER TITLE 10 OF THE TAX –
15 GENERAL ARTICLE, UNLESS AN INDIVIDUAL DEMONSTRATES TO THE SATISFACTION
16 OF THE COMPTROLLER THAT THE INDIVIDUAL WAS COVERED BY HEALTH
17 INSURANCE OFFERING BENEFITS COMPARABLE TO THE COMPREHENSIVE
18 STANDARD HEALTH BENEFIT PLAN UNDER § 15-1207 OF THIS TITLE FOR THE
19 TAXABLE YEAR:
20 (1) IF THE FEDERAL ADJUSTED GROSS INCOME OF THE INDIVIDUAL, OR
21 OF THE INDIVIDUAL AND THE INDIVIDUAL’S SPOUSE IF THEY FILE A JOINT INCOME
22 TAX RETURN, IS EQUAL TO OR GREATER THAN 350% OF THE APPLICABLE POVERTY
23 INCOME LEVEL, THE INDIVIDUAL SHALL PAY AS ADDITIONAL STATE INCOME TAX
24 FOR THE TAXABLE YEAR AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO THE HOSPITAL SHARE OF
25 COMPREHENSIVE STANDARD HEALTH BENEFIT PLAN FOR THE TAXABLE YEAR, AS
26 ESTABLISHED BY THE MARYLAND HEALTH CARE COMMISSION; AND
27 (2) IF THE FEDERAL ADJUSTED GROSS INCOME OF THE INDIVIDUAL, OR
28 OF THE INDIVIDUAL AND THE INDIVIDUAL’S SPOUSE IF THEY FILE A JOINT INCOME
29 TAX RETURN, IS LESS THAN 350% OF THE APPLICABLE POVERTY INCOME LEVEL AND
30 THE INDIVIDUAL IS ELIGIBLE FOR MDCARE:
31 (I) THE INDIVIDUAL SHALL BE ENROLLED IN MDCARE AND SHALL
32 PAY AS ADDITIONAL STATE INCOME TAX FOR THE TAXABLE YEAR THE APPLICABLE
33 MDCARE PREMIUM;
34 (II) THE COMPTROLLER SHALL COORDINATE WITH MDCARE AND
35 THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND MENTAL HYGIENE TO DETERMINE ELIGIBILITY
36 OF THE INDIVIDUAL FOR MDCARE, THE MARYLAND MEDICAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM,
37 AND THE MARYLAND CHILDREN’S HEALTH PROGRAM; AND
38 (III) IF THE INDIVIDUAL IS ELIGIBLE FOR MDCARE, THE MARYLAND
39 MEDICAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM, OR THE MARYLAND CHILDREN’S HEALTH

42 UNOFFICIAL COPY OF HOUSE BILL 1510

1 PROGRAM, THE INDIVIDUAL SHALL BE AUTOMATICALLY ENROLLED AND ASSESSED A
2 3-MONTH PREMIUM BY THE COMPTROLLER.
3 (C) NOTWITHSTANDING TITLE 2, SUBTITLE 6 OF THE TAX – GENERAL ARTICLE,
4 THE COMPTROLLER SHALL DISTRIBUTE THE REVENUE FROM THE ADDITIONAL
5 STATE INCOME TAX IMPOSED UNDER THIS SECTION AS FOLLOWS:
6 (1) AMOUNTS RECEIVED UNDER SUBSECTION (B)(1) OF THIS SECTION
7 FROM INDIVIDUALS HAVING FEDERAL ADJUSTED GROSS INCOME EQUAL TO OR
8 GREATER THAN 350% OF THE APPLICABLE POVERTY INCOME LEVEL SHALL BE
9 DISTRIBUTED TO A SPECIAL FUND ADMINISTERED BY THE HEALTH SERVICES COST
10 REVIEW COMMISSION, TO BE USED ONLY TO PROVIDE REIMBURSEMENT FOR
11 UNCOMPENSATED HEALTH CARE IN THE STATE AS REQUIRED UNDER § 19-214(C) OF
12 THE HEALTH – GENERAL ARTICLE; AND
13 (2) AMOUNTS RECEIVED UNDER SUBSECTION (B)(2) OF THIS SECTION
14 FROM INDIVIDUALS HAVING FEDERAL ADJUSTED GROSS INCOME LESS THAN 350%
15 OF THE APPLICABLE POVERTY INCOME LEVEL SHALL BE DISTRIBUTED TO THE
16 GENERAL FUND OF THE STATE.

There was already a plan in place for medically uninsurable individuals to be insured by the state. This bill revamps that existing program into MDCARE, which will cover ALL uninsured people, including those deemed “uninsured” because their premiums are over 3% of their income. This is whether you would choose to be uninsured or not.

Let’s see, HB1510 also doubles the cigarette tax to help pay for all this as well, and MANDATES a certain amount be spent on the program. I thought the governor made the budget. Oh, and a sop to the union thugs, MDCARE employees will have the right to collective bargaining (it’s in the bill too.)

Actually, the reason I started this post was to do a little bit of comparison. I went to the Maryland General Assembly website and looked up all the number of bills that Delegate Hubbard has sponsored as a solo sponsor, then compared it to our local representatives.

In the 2006 session, Hubbard has sponsored 19 bills solo (including HB 1510) and co-sponsored an additional 131 bills. Most of his “solo” bills have to do with health care in one form or another.

In Districts 37 and 38, which cover at least some of Wicomico County, here’s how our elected officials compare:

Bennett Bozman, Delegate, 38B: no solo bills, 117 as co-sponsor.
Rudy Cane, Delegate, 37A: no solo bills, 109 as co-sponsor.
Richard Colburn, Senator, 37: 31 solo bills, 98 as co-sponsor. Most of his solo bills are for various county-level issues, like raising the salary of a judge or money toward a project.
Norman Conway, Delegate, 38B: no solo bills, 84 as co-sponsor.
Addie Eckardt, Delegate, 37B: no solo bills, 122 as co-sponsor.
Page Elmore, Delegate, 38A: 12 solo bills, 145 as co-sponsor. All of his solo bills deal with Somerset County issues.
Jeannie Haddaway, Delegate, 37B: 4 solo bills, 118 as co-sponsor.
Lowell Stoltzfus, Senator, 38: 6 solo bills, 40 as co-sponsor.

So the vast majority of bills where our Delegates and Senators are the lone sponsor deal with mundane county-level issues, which is true of most in the General Assembly. Even many bills that are co-sponsored by our representatives are local issues (as an example, Bozman and Conway were the lone two sponsors of a measure on several occasions.)

But Hubbard is looking to use his district seat to bankrupt an entire state by making health care “free.” Remember, health care is NOT a right. And while it may appear to be “free” (or nearly so) health care to those placed under MDCARE, when they lose their jobs because the business they work for is shackled by all the red tape MDCARE will certainly cause, they’ll see who pays for it all in the end – hard-working Free State entrepreneurs.

Like this is a surprise?

I will give the large hat tip to Rush today for introducing me to this article by Brendan Miniter. My ears perk up whenever he mentions the Free State and we got a lot of airtime today.

In case the link ceases to work (I know the Wall Street Journal site is a subscription site, whereas the OpinionJournal is the “free side”) the money passage is this:

let’s turn to (Delegate James) Hubbard. He began our conversation by pointing out that the Wal-Mart bill–which forces companies with more than 10,000 employees to spend at least 8% of their payroll on health care or pay the state the difference–was always intended to be just the first step (emphasis mine). Four years ago, he made his intentions clear by introducing legislation to increase cigarette taxes and to use the tax code to compel employers to provide health insurance. Under his legislation the revenue from these taxes would be dumped into a new state fund that would then be used to expand Medicaid eligibility to families with incomes up to 300% of the poverty line (up from 200% now). But even in a legislature with large Democratic majorities, his bill stalled.

So Mr. Hubbard and others settled on a new approach–pushing through smaller, bite-sized pieces. The first piece was the Wal-Mart bill. It passed last year and was enacted last month, when the Legislature overrode Gov. Robert Ehrlich’s veto. Two weeks ago Mr. Hubbard was at it again, this time introducing a new bill to mandate that companies with at least 1,000 employees spend 4.5% of their payroll on health care or pay the state the difference. Once this piece is in place, Mr. Hubbard told me, the next step will be to create a similar mandate–perhaps 2% or 3%–for companies with fewer than 1,000 employees. Each year, Mr. Hubbard hopes to expand the mandate to include ever smaller companies with the ultimate goal of “health coverage for all Marylanders.”

Mr. Hubbard noted how effective splitting the difference can be in moving legislation toward a larger goal. “If you give up 80% of what you want to get 20%,” he said, “after five years you will have nothing left to give up.”

This is the relevant portion of the text of HB 1510, which is an omnibus bill regarding health care in general (it’s innocently titled Public-Private Partnership for Health Coverage for All Marylanders. Some partnership, a gun to the head isn’t a real alliance.) The bill as a whole is a 50 page .pdf file.

I believe the way this works is that additions to existing statute are in ALL CAPS. Perhaps a lawyer-type can help me on that.

Article – Labor and Employment

8 8.5-101.

9 (a) In this title the following words have the meanings indicated.
10 (b) “Employee” means all individuals employed full time or part time directly
11 by an employer.
12 (c) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, “employer”
13 has the meaning stated in § 10-905 of the Tax – General Article.
14 (2) “Employer” does not include the federal government, the State,
15 another state, or a political subdivision of the State or another state.
16 (d) (1) “Health insurance costs” means the amount paid by an employer to
17 provide health care or health insurance to employees in the State to the extent the
18 costs may be deductible by an employer under federal tax law.
19 (2) “Health insurance costs” includes payments for medical care,
20 prescription drugs, vision care, medical savings accounts, and any other costs to
21 provide health benefits as defined in § 213(d) of the Internal Revenue Code.
22 (e) “Secretary” means the Secretary of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation.
23 (f) “Wages” has the meaning stated in § 10-905 of the Tax – General Article.
24 8.5-102.
25 This title applies to an employer with [10,000] ONE or more employees in the
26 State.
27 8.5-103.
28 (a) (1) On January 1, [2007] 2008, and annually thereafter, an employer
29 shall submit on a form and in a manner approved by the Secretary:
30 (i) the number of employees of the employer in the State as of 1
31 day in the year immediately preceding the previous calendar year as determined by
32 the employer on an annual basis;

44 UNOFFICIAL COPY OF HOUSE BILL 1510

1 (ii) the amount spent by the employer in the year immediately
2 preceding the previous calendar year on health insurance costs in the State; and
3 (iii) the percentage of payroll that was spent by the employer in the
4 year immediately preceding the previous calendar year on health insurance costs in
5 the State.
6 (2) The Secretary shall adopt regulations that specify the information
7 that an employer shall submit under paragraph (1) of this subsection.
8 (3) The information required shall:
9 (i) be designated in a report signed by the principal executive
10 officer or an individual performing a similar function; and
11 (ii) include an affidavit under penalty of perjury that the
12 information required under paragraph (1) of this subsection:
13 1. was reviewed by the signing officer; and
14 2. is true to the best of the signing officer’s knowledge,
15 information, and belief.
16 (b) When calculating the percentage of payroll under subsection (a)(1)(iii) of
17 this section, an employer may exempt:
18 (1) wages paid to any employee in excess of the median household
19 income in the State as published by the United States Census Bureau; and
20 (2) wages paid to an employee who is enrolled in or eligible for Medicare.
21 8.5-104.
22 (a) An employer WITH 10,000 OR MORE EMPLOYEES that is organized as a
23 nonprofit organization that does not spend up to 6% of the total wages paid to
24 employees in the State on health insurance costs shall pay to the Secretary an
25 amount equal to the difference between what the employer spends for health
26 insurance costs and an amount equal to 6% of the total wages paid to employees in
27 the State.
28 (b) An employer WITH 10,000 OR MORE EMPLOYEES that is not organized as a
29 nonprofit organization and does not spend up to 8% of the total wages paid to
30 employees in the State on health insurance costs shall pay to the Secretary an
31 amount equal to the difference between what the employer spends for health
32 insurance costs and an amount equal to 8% of the total wages paid to employees in
33 the State.
34 (C) AN EMPLOYER WITH FEWER THAN 10,000 EMPLOYEES THAT IS ORGANIZED
35 AS A NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION THAT DOES NOT SPEND UP TO 3% OF THE TOTAL
36 WAGES PAID TO EMPLOYEES IN THE STATE ON HEALTH INSURANCE COSTS SHALL

45 UNOFFICIAL COPY OF HOUSE BILL 1510

1 PAY TO THE SECRETARY AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHAT
2 THE EMPLOYER SPENDS FOR HEALTH INSURANCE COSTS AND AN AMOUNT EQUAL
3 TO 3% OF THE TOTAL WAGES PAID TO EMPLOYEES IN THE STATE.
4 (D) AN EMPLOYER WITH FEWER THAN 10,000 EMPLOYEES THAT IS NOT
5 ORGANIZED AS A NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION AND DOES NOT SPEND UP TO 4.5% OF
6 THE TOTAL WAGES PAID TO EMPLOYEES IN THE STATE ON HEALTH INSURANCE
7 COSTS SHALL PAY TO THE SECRETARY AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO THE DIFFERENCE
8 BETWEEN WHAT THE EMPLOYER SPENDS FOR HEALTH INSURANCE COSTS AND AN
9 AMOUNT EQUAL TO 4.5% OF THE TOTAL WAGES PAID TO EMPLOYEES IN THE STATE.
10 [(c)] (E) An employer may not deduct any payment made under subsection
11 [(a) or (b)] (A), (B), (C), OR (D) of this section from the wages of an employee.
12 [(d)] (F) An employer shall make the payment required under this section to
13 the Secretary on a periodic basis as determined by the Secretary.
14 8.5-105.
15 (a) Failure to report in accordance with § 8.5-103 of this title shall result in
16 the imposition by the Secretary of a civil penalty of $250 for each day that the report
17 is not timely filed.
18 (b) Failure to make the payment required under § 8.5-104 of this title shall
19 result in the imposition by the Secretary of a civil penalty of $250,000.

What a surprise, take a little in 2005, go for more in 2006. The next part I didn’t print goes into importing Canadian prescription drugs and, if the federal government doesn’t grant the state a waiver, a mandate that the state Attorney General file suit against the federal government.

Again, the Delegate who sponsored HB 1510 is James W. Hubbard, of District 23A. I realize it’s a longshot to find a Republican in PG County to try and unseat him, but this nutjob has got to go. A more realistic thing to do would be to encourage our Delegates to stop HB 1510 dead in its tracks. According to the General Assembly website, this bill was rereferred to the Health and Government Operations subcommittee yesterday. Let’s make sure it doesn’t see the light of day again.

Missing from the Eastern Shore

There’s no paczki wars here, like back in northwest Ohio where there’s a thriving Polish community. I’m part Polish, and that part is probably why I weigh what I do, because they have such great food!

Since I have a longer post to write tonight, here’s more comments from Emily at American Princess. Thanks to her for making my mouth water.

WCRC meeting – February 2006

Once again, I took part of my evening and attended this month’s Wicomico County Republican Club meeting. We had about 30 in attendance this time.

As far as club business goes, our finances are still double what they were last year, although it was pointed out that this time in 2005 was right after the 2004 elections so the old amount should be used with caution when comparing. But the club didn’t do much for the 2005 local elections either since they were technically nonpartisan. Membership was up to 95 paid members, but I’m not one (yet), simply because I forgot my checkbook! Additionally, 8 members paid at the “elephant” level, which is additional money donated to the club.

Elected officials present were Wicomico County Councilman Gail Bartkovich and Worcester County Commissioner Sonny Bloxom (as noted last month, he’s running for Delegate in District 38B.) Also present was County Council candidate Dorothy White of District 5, the northeast portion of the county. (That district’s actually right across the road from me.)

Our speaker this month was Michael Grissom from the Maryland GOP. The Florida native is actually better known as the political director for Katherine Harris’s 2004 congressional campaign, now he’s working for the MGOP. He also worked with the Kilgore campaign last year in Virginia. You win some, you lose some.

Grissom noted a few things about this year’s approach to the Maryland races, particularly retaining Governor Ehrlich and electing Michael Steele to the U.S. Senate. The two things I found most interesting about his remarks was the emphasis on “microtargeting” and the effort come Election Day (or, actually, more like Election Week thanks to the D’s – vote early and often!) to assure as much as possible a clean election. That would be lawyers on the ground. If the D’s can pony up lawyers, so can we.

“Microtargeting” is fascinating – it’s targeting newer residents and based on consumer preferences, where certain traits show up in those who are more likely conservative. The example Grissom gave was if a person owned a Ford F-150 pickup, had a concealed carry permit, and subscribed to Field and Stream, they would more than likely be conservative and a probable Republican voter. (I guess on the flip side, if you drive a Volvo, subscribe to the New York Times, and have seen “Brokeback Mountain” 5 times, it’s likely you’re a moonbat who votes straight ticket Democrat – if there’s no Greens on the ballot.)

Additionally, Grissom told us that a field staffer for the Eastern Shore would be coming soon, at first based out of the Easton area because it’s centrally located on the Shore, but eventually by fall there would be a staffer for us on the south end of the Eastern Shore, as well as one on the north end. There’s going to be 5 or 6 field staffers in Maryland to start, our small population dictates one shared amongst the whole Eastern Shore for now.

A good question came from an attendee at that point. His concern was about Ehrlich and Steele “getting their message out” given the pro-Democrat slant of most Maryland media outlets. The key, explained Grissom, is getting the message out via the grassroots. Just talk up your neighbors (or be a blogger like me!) This helps to increase GOP turnout – while the stated goal is 80% in Wicomico County, it was revealed that GOP turnout in 2004 was 82% and 2002 GOP turnout was about 78%. So their “goal” is about the norm – but additional registered Republicans can also make a difference even with similar numbers.

Some other comments during this portion of the meeting:

Governor Ehrlich has not decided on a running mate yet, but it sounds like he has a short list being kept close to the vest at this time.

Polling was described as being “within percentage points” although Rasmussen showed Michael Steele down double digits to Ben Cardin. This poll was taken shortly after the stem-cell comment apology though.

There will be “slate money” for local campaigns to use this year, as Grissom noted the Maryland GOP has raised an “amazing amount of money.” Sonny Bloxom chimed in that if he raises a certain amount by the primary, the state GOP will kick in campaign money as well. If you use the vote total for the 2004 presidential election in Maryland as a guide, the campaign for governor may cost upwards of $25 per vote and the Senate campaign $12.50 per vote. That makes the numbers scary large in reality.

And, of course, after Grissom finished with his informative talk (and left to head home to Baltimore – we appreciate him coming down!) there were other issues discussed at the meeting. Most important to me was the County Council’s upcoming agenda, as budget issues take center stage in April and May. Impact fees or no impact fees? The capital improvements budget is said to be “fairly set” though. Adding to those improvements, it was announced tonight to us that money’s in the pipeline for construction to Business U.S. 13 in Salisbury, State Route 349, and U.S. 50. I knew a state representative in Ohio named John Garcia who said every time you see an orange barrel you see money from the state coming back to you. So we’ll see some money coming back to us in the form of highway improvements.

Another thing pointed out by John Bartkovich was that we need to fill our slate, still a lot of “blank” spaces on it. One complaint is that incumbents seem to be slow in deciding whether they want to run, so people who don’t want to face an incumbent also have to wait. Further, in the last couple months we’ve lost a candidate for County Executive and Sheriff who both dropped out of their race.

The club also is still looking for officers. They’ve offered me a post, I had to decline. It was more than I had a comfort level of doing at this time. I’d enjoy doing the newsletter part of it, but the other functions are more than I think I can handle – I’ve been taught to manage around my weaknesses so there you have it. That goes to being a candidate this year as well, although I hold the caveat below.

There is a Central Committee meeting a week from tonight that I would like to attend, kind of a “try before I buy” sort of thing. It’s intriguing to me in some respects but I’m a long way from running if I ever decide to.

Other upcoming events of note are a state party election school in March up in Gaithersburg, our annual booth at the Spring Festival April 28-29 (I’ll likely do that, maybe I’ll even bring brownies), the state GOP spring convention in Cambridge May 13, and way out there the Crab Feast in September. And we get to skip June and July for meetings.

Next month our speaker will be one of the two GOP Delegate candidates for District 38B, Jack Lord.

aaawww…did us bloggers upset the little ole city of Salisbury?

It’s said that “nature abhors a vacuum.” In the case of Salisbury, since the local paper or TV stations aren’t always the best source for news, something fills in the slack.

There’s always been a “rumor mill” wherever you go, but in this era of widely available Internet and the opportunity to sign up for (or buy like I did) a domain name and join the “pajamas media”, it’s very possible for a blogger to have a larger circulation and disseminate information to a larger audience than the so-called “mainstream media” outlets.

Three of my fellow Delmarva bloggers became accepted members of the media this week as all three local media outlets featured them on their news. The gist of the stories was a focus on local resident Joe Albero, a man who’s had repeated run-ins with several government entities. To those who aren’t a fan of his efforts, I suppose the term for him would be “local gadfly.” The really funny thing is that Albero doesn’t have his own blog, generally he works with and comments to the Justice for All? blog (although he has commented here on monoblogue as well.)

I’m sure all three of these blogs have rapidly increased their readership over the course of this year (let alone the last few days), as has mine (I had a record number of hits yesterday.) Monoblogue is a little different than the other three, but I do cover a lot of the same ground. It would be interesting to know what the hit rate is for the “mainstream” outlets compared to the bloggers. While it’s probably on a order of magnitude higher, I bet the gap is decreasing.

What struck me as funniest about the coverage was the Daily Times article, and particularly Mayor Tilghman’s reaction to the bloggers, “If they care for a higher level of community discussion, then I recommend they become involved in the city of Salisbury.”

Honestly, how does one become more involved with the city of Salisbury? Let’s assume for the sake of argument that at least one of the above mentioned bloggers or correspondents attends each public meeting, and looks over all the agendas and such that is public information. To me, the next step would have to be either working for the city or running for office. There’s only so many city positions that open up where an impact can be made, and you have to actually live in Salisbury to run for office (not to mention win an election.)

Once upon a time some wag said, “you can’t fight City Hall.” It becomes easy to ignore the wishes of the public when you know you have enough support from the voters to remain in the job term after term. But you can’t ignore bloggers quite as easily when they present a compelling version of events that may not be what the mayor and others in city government like to hear. So far the efforts of the bloggers have brought to light the animal deaths at the zoo (as well as their polluting the Wicomico River), the permitless dumping at the wastewater treatment plant, irregularities in annexation and zoning approvals – that’s just in Salisbury. Multiply that by 1,000 other large communities.

Maybe the best way to sum this up is if there weren’t bloggers and commenters to the sites who really cared about the place they live, it would be that much more difficult to muster up the resources for necessary change. This is the second place I’ve moved to by choice, and the first one was paid for by someone else (college.) So I’m interested in doing my part to make it a better place to live; after all, I have a stake in the community now since my job depends a lot on the well-being of the Delmarva area.

Kudos and thanks!

I happened to catch (thanks to reading it on Delmarva Dealings) this morning’s radio chat between WICO-AM morning host Bill Reddish and “Cato” of DD. It sounds like Reddish is up to speed on the blogosphere, which is good when you have a paper like ours. It does seem that WICO’s news is basically a rehash of Daily Times stories for the most part.

Unfortunately, there’s no transcript of the program available because I found it interesting in the parts I was able to listen to at the office, but I missed a bit here and there. Co-workers can do that to you.

But I didn’t miss the part at the end where Cato mentioned yours truly’s blog. And for that I thank him…good to know I’m becoming accepted in the Delmarva blogger community, slowly but surely.

As for the morning show, now that I’m getting pretty annoyed with the “Rex Nation” it may be time to go back to AM talk in the morning like I did back in Toledo. Seems like Bill Reddish is a good morning host – I never could stand “Bob and Tom” or “Don and Mike” and the “Rex Nation” is heading that way.

It’s not like I have a long commute, about 3-4 minutes! That’s one thing I do like about living here, little traffic. I almost wonder why WICO has a traffic report in the morning. Guess they have to fill some time, but if they continue to get good guests, the time will take care of itself.